Sometimes when I’m watching the news or reading articles on the “feminization” of our society, and see the behavior of those who should be acting like adults but instead resemble spoiled kids on sugar, I realize that apparently no one is teaching them the lessons generations before them have learned. Add in the seeming impotence of the Church in America and Europe against the tough issues and tragedies that are so prevalent these days, and I wonder, “where have all the men gone?” You know, the great defenders of justice like John Wayne or the Lone Ranger, who always protected the weak. Or those stalwart dads, the Sheriff Taylors or Ward Cleavers, who always knew what to say and what to do to help their kids navigate the pitfalls of life. One thing is sure, we are in desperate need for some “heroes”, for some leaders to step up and bravely lead, like those men did 73 years ago on the beaches of Normandy. Fathers’ Day is right around the corner, and I can’t think of a more appropriate topic to explore today, and here to lead us is teacher and author of the book “Broken Yet Blessed,” Kathi McCarty.
Table Talk Notes
God looked for one godly man
Ezek 22:30 “And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.”
A nation is in turmoil…
The temple had been desecrated and dishonored and God’s people no longer worshipped there. The people had reverted to lawlessness.
- The 5 “C’s” in sin’s progression: convenience, comfort, confusion, cold-heartedness, and finally, complicit in sin
“High places” had been established for idol worship. Sound like any other country you know? God was looking for just ONE good man to stand in the gap, to protect what is holy, to hold back His hand of judgment. Who is this prophet?
- Ezekiel’s name means “God strengthens”
- He, King Jehoiachin & 10,000 others are exiles in Babylon
- Ezekiel prophesies among the people for 22 yrs
Ezekiel is the only prophet to use shockingly graphic language to depict the sins of Israel
Ez 2:6-7 | And you, son of man,be not afraid of them, nor be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns are with you and you sit on scorpions (or scorpion plants). Be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, for they are a rebellious house. And you shall speak my words to them, whether they hear or refuse to hear, for they are a rebellious house.
- Bound by the LORD with cords and made mute (Ez 3:24-26)
- Build a replica of Jerusalem under siege using a brick, then lay on his left side for 390 days for Israel’s sin, and 40 days on his right for Judah’s sin. Had to eat barley cakes baked on dung. (Ez 4)
- Shave head & beard with a sword, burning a third of the hair, striking a third with the sword and scattering a third to the wind (Ez 5)
- Carry exile’s baggage around during the day, then dig a hole in the wall with his hands and carry the baggage out at dusk, covering his face to not see the Land—also had to eat and drink with trembling and quaking ‘
- (Ez 12:9-13 | “Son of man, has not the house of Israel,the rebellious house, said to you, ‘What are you doing?’ Say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God: This oracle concerns the prince in Jerusalem and all the house of Israel who are in it.’ Say, ‘I am a sign for you: as I have done, so shall it be done to them. They shall go into exile, into captivity.’ And the prince who is among them shall lift his baggage upon his shoulder at dusk, and shall go out. They shall dig through the wall to bring him out through it. He shall cover his face, that he may not see the land with his eyes. And I will spread my net over him, and he shall be taken in my snare. And I will bring him to Babylon, the land of the Chaldeans, yet he shall not see it, and he shall die there.) re: Zedekiah
- Show NO signs of mourning after the Lord too his wife (Ez 24:15-18 | The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, behold, I am about to take the delight of your eyes away from you at a stroke; yet you shall not mourn or weep, nor shall your tears run down. Sigh, but not aloud; make no mourning for the dead. Bind on your turban, and put your shoes on your feet; do not cover your lips, nor eat the bread of men.” So I spoke to the people in the morning, and at evening my wife died. And on the next morning I did as I was commanded.)
Ezekiel is one of only a few prophets who addresses the nation’s sins AND proclaims the concept of individual responsibility
Ez 18:1-32 | The word of the Lord came to me: “What do you mean by repeating this proverb concerning the land of Israel, ‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge’? As I live, declares the Lord God, this proverb shall no more be used by you in Israel. Behold, all souls are mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine: the soul who sins shall die. “If a man is righteous and does what is just and right— if he does not eat upon the mountains or lift up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, does not defile his neighbor’s wife or approach a woman in her time of menstrual impurity, does not oppress anyone, but restores to the debtor his pledge, commits no robbery, gives his bread to the hungry and covers the naked with a garment, does not lend at interest or take any profit, withholds his hand from injustice, executes true justice between man and man, walks in my statutes, and keeps my rules by acting faithfully—he is righteous; he shall surely live, declares the Lord God. “If he fathers a son who is violent, a shedder of blood, who does any of these things (though he himself did none of these things), who even eats upon the mountains, defiles his neighbor’s wife, oppresses the poor and needy, commits robbery, does not restore the pledge, lifts up his eyes to the idols, commits abomination, lends at interest, and takes profit; shall he then live? He shall not live. He has done all these abominations; he shall surely die; his blood shall be upon himself. “Now suppose this man fathers a son who sees all the sins that his father has done; he sees, and does not do likewise: he does not eat upon the mountains or lift up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, does not defile his neighbor’s wife, does not oppress anyone, exacts no pledge, commits no robbery, but gives his bread to the hungry and covers the naked with a garment, withholds his hand from iniquity, takes no interest or profit, obeys my rules, and walks in my statutes; he shall not die for his father’s iniquity; he shall surely live. As for his father, because he practiced extortion, robbed his brother, and did what is not good among his people, behold, he shall die for his iniquity. “Yet you say, ‘Why should not the son suffer for the iniquity of the father?’ When the son has done what is just and right, and has been careful to observe all my statutes, he shall surely live. The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself. “But if a wicked person turns away from all his sins that he has committed and keeps all my statutes and does what is just and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die. None of the transgressions that he has committed shall be remembered against him; for the righteousness that he has done he shall live. Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, declares the Lord God, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live? But when a righteous person turns away from his righteousness and does injustice and does the same abominations that the wicked person does, shall he live? None of the righteous deeds that he has done shall be remembered; for the treachery of which he is guilty and the sin he has committed, for them he shall die. “Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ Hear now, O house of Israel: Is my way not just? Is it not your ways that are not just? When a righteous person turns away from his righteousness and does injustice, he shall die for it; for the injustice that he has done he shall die. Again, when a wicked person turns away from the wickedness he has committed and does what is just and right, he shall save his life. Because he considered and turned away from all the transgressions that he had committed, he shall surely live; he shall not die. Yet the house of Israel says, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ O house of Israel, are my ways not just? Is it not your ways that are not just? “Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, declares the Lord God. Repent and turn from all your transgressions, lest iniquity be your ruin. Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why will you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord God; so turn, and live.”)
Ez 33:11 | “I take no delight in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn and live.”
God’s man looks like…
A man who’s learned to lean (on the Lord).
Prov 3:5-6 | “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”
A man who’s learned to lead.
2 Thes 3:9 | “…but we make ourselves an example to you to follow us.”
A man who’s learned to love.
1 Cor 13:1 | “Tho I speak w/the tongues of men & angels, and do not have love, I am a sounding brass…” (ESV: noisy gong, clanging cymbal)
Leaning on God for…
- Salvation: Eph 2:8-9 “…by grace you are saved thru faith, it is a gift of God.”
- Strength: Isaiah 40:31 “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”
- Supply: Phil 4:19 “My God shall supply ALL your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”
- Soundness/Wisdom: James 1:5 “If any one lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives liberally to all, and it will be given to him.”
God’s men lead…
- Their own flesh: Gal 5:16, 2:20 “Walk in the Spirit and you will not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” “I am crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God,who loved me and gave himself for me.”
- Their families: Eph 5:23 “For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church…”
- The fallen/lost: 1 Cor 15:22 “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”; Acts 2:41 “Then they gladly received his word & were baptized, and the same day there were added to the fellowship about 3,000 souls.”
God’s men love…
- Father God: 1 Jn 4:19; 2 Jn 6 “We love because He first loved us.” “This is love, that we obey His commands.”
- Families: Eph 5:25, 6:4 “Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her.” “Fathers do not exasperate your children, but raise them up in the admonition of the Lord.”
- The fellowship: 1 Jn 4: 7,8 “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.”; Eph 5:25 “Christ also loved the church and gave himself for it.”
God is looking to “recruit” a few good men, men who will lean on the Lord, lead by His Spirit and love like Father God loves. Will you be one of the men of God who will be found faithful in the last days?
John 15:5 | “I am the vine, you are the branches. He that abides (*dwells, constantly lives) in Me, and I in him, he will bring forth MUCH fruit, for apart from Me, you can do nothing (of eternal value.)”
Hebrews 10:24-25 | And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together (forsaking the assembly), as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”